Morata issues warning and rallying call as Barcelona showdown looms over

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata [Photo: Courtesy]

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has issued a warning to his teammates as they head into the first leg of Uefa Champions League round 16 against Spanish giants Barcelona next week, saying that ‘it will be nearly impossible’ to stop Lionel Messi.

Speaking after the Blues comfortably swept away West Bromwich Albion in a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge; the Spanish striker gave a rallying call to his teammates. Morata urged his colleagues to be prepared to deal with Barcelona threat when the two sides lock horns.

He proposed a game plan that he cited as the best approach to dig a win in the Tuesday evening match.

"If we can get a good result here, we have to play a defensive game with spaces and try to bother them as much as possible."

The former Real Madrid man scored for Chelsea in the 2-1 victory over Barcelona’s rival Atletico Madrid. He seems to have fallen in love with Conte’s approach in that game. The Italian used a 3-5-2 tactical format, which allowed him to deploy Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata upfront, as Ngólo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko played in midfield.

Chelsea staged a defensive compact display with lethal when they broke against the opposition. Conte has however avoided the debate on Barcelona match arguing that ‘there are many other games’ to focus on.

Chelsea have played Barcelona a number of times. The latest being in 2012 when Blues flashed out the Catalans in the semifinal of the tournament.

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has worst statistics against the London team-his worst against a single team in his career.

Messi has failed to score in various encounters with Chelsea despite firing a total of 29 shots. Barcelona’s Luis Suarez on the other hand has found the back of the net against the Blues especially when he was playing at Liverpool. Chelsea are entangled in a battle for top four finish and are in contention for FA Cup glory.

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